J.W. Pepper Creates New Tool to Overcome an Unexpected Barrier to Music Education

Mike Lawson • News • April 9, 2020

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J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. has found a solution to a problem many music teachers, directors and students have during this difficult time – that is, most of their sheet music that allows them to keep making music was left in closed schools and facilities. To make things more challenging, if a teacher had a copy of a composition, it often could not be shared electronically with ensemble members because of licensing restrictions.

Pepper utilized its relationship with hundreds of publishers to find an answer. Within days, more than 500 publishers contacted by Pepper agreed to join an initiative that allows Pepper to electronically share with its customers and their students any pieces that had been purchased in the past four years, as long as a digital version was available. More than 200,000 compositions are included in the list.

“Pepper was the first company in our industry to launch a Share Music feature, and it has been extremely well received by our customers and by the publishers,” Glenn Burtch, president and CEO of J.W. Pepper said.

The option enables teachers and directors to give access codes to their students or ensemble members, so the music available can be viewed online. The number of shares allowed depends on the amount of copies originally purchased, so if a music director originally bought 30 copies of a piece, 30 online versions can be shared. The free service is available until June 30, and it also works for any new music bought between now and then.

The response from the music community has been immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Hundreds of teachers have expressed their gratitude in social media groups for online learning.

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